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Sleep is a topic many people are divided about, some people have no trouble falling into a peaceful sleep each night and for others it remains elusive. Sleep is essential for life and necessary to allow the brain and body to heal and repair.

Natural human sleep patterns are influenced by light

The topic of sleep is a very important consideration for anybody and because of the pressures and distractions of life, natural sleep patterns become interrupted, which can lead to chronic pain and weight gain.


Natural human sleep patterns are influenced by light and the cycles of light and darkness that occur due to the movements of the sun.  People in the past used to rise at the crack of dawn and go to bed around sundown, but times today have changed.  People have later work schedules, more responsibilities on all fronts and higher levels of daily stress, all of which can be related to interruption of the circadian cycle and may cause weight gain.

An interruption of the circadian cycle translates to aches, pains, health problems and mental acuity issues.  When the brain is stimulated by light it signals a release of hormones which controls Cortisol, which controls the appetite.  Cortisol is what controls stress and is released in response to the body experiencing stress of some type, it can be due to mental, physical or nutritional influences.

Cortisol levels peak hours are between 6 am and 9 am

When the sun rises, cortisol levels in the body do as well and the peak hours are between 6 am and 9 am, after which time it drops.  Low cortisol levels in the blood, triggers the release of melatonin and helps the person fall asleep.  Normally, a person’s body begins to calm down from the day’s events around 10 pm at which time sleep is needed, for those experiencing a circadian cycle interruption; normal sleeping patterns are out of the question.

There are environmental factors which could directly influence brain stimuli and causes the human brain to be tricked into thinking it is morning, which results in triggering cortisol to be released.  The body is being deprived of sleep, as a result cortisol levels rise and appetite increases.  A person may turn to sugar laden pastries or coffee loaded with sugar or other high calorie foods to stimulate the mind into staying awake and provide the body with a rush of sugar to get a flood of energy.


Refined sugar and caffeine stimulate the adrenal glands, which mean more cortisol is released and this directly influences how the human body metabolizes fats, protein and carbs.  The body is not able to function at peak performance and chronic consumption of high fat, sugary foods can lead directly to a person experiencing significant weight gain. The cycle is vicious and will continue to get worse until something is done.

Regulating sleep patterns is the only way to break the cycle and getting a good night sleep could directly decrease feelings of pain, exhaustion and aches.  To achieve proper sleep a person should set a regular pattern for sleeping and waking each night.  It is also a good idea remove any environmental light sources which could be disruptive, avoiding caffeine and incorporating a regular exercise routine can all help to make for more restful conditions and help a person avoid gaining weight because of lack of proper sleep.
 

  • www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/health/27real.html?ref=science
  • abcnews.go.com/Health/PainManagement/story?id=4167963&page=1